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tv   [untitled]    May 10, 2011 2:00am-2:30am PDT

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redevelopment, unfortunately, the infrastructure financing districts do not raise as much money as the tax increment financing of a redevelopment area. that is just a fact of life. i think the staff of the office of economic development and workforce development and the development team have done an excellent job in informing us of how the ifd's work and the difference between that and redevelopment financing. i think that our members understand that very well. we were given an opportunity to ask a number of questions, and we are very satisfied with the answers that we received. i feel strongly that the city has been waiting a long time for this project. people have been talking about
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it and looking forward to it. the jobs that it will create are an enormous and will greatly support and improve the economy of the whole city. my heart goes out to those workers who have not been able to work for such a long time. i want to see them working. i want to see this development go forward now, and not be delayed any longer. and i will support the approval of the eir and later will support the approval of the dda. i am anxious to see it go forward. i am anxious to see folks going back to work. i would urge an aye vote on the eir tonight. commissioner mazzola: first, i
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would like to ask a question of staff regarding an issue that was brought up earlier in public comment. somebody said there were too many changes of not enough time to review them. can i please ask staff what has changed in eir? >> perhaps you could be more specific. there have been some changes to the project that have been reflected since the publication of the draft eir. those were requested in the comments and responses document. there are further changes are described in a memorandum sent to you, mostly regarding changes in the financing of the project and some other changes in the development project itself. we did not find any of those light changes to change the analysis or conclusions of the
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eir. commissioner mazzola: thank you. i am in favor of approving this. as far as affordable housing goes, and there has been some questions about this -- in the case of redevelopment and in the case of ifd's, in both cases we are well above the minimum required. i think that is important for everybody to understand. 25% is above the minimum. the affordable housing advocates on treasure island, tihdi, are asking you to approve this. so is the citizen's advisory board. i feel that this horse has been beat to death. i am also a new commissioner,
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but this has been going on for 10 to 15 years. we cannot afford as a city to let this project go. we cannot delay it and delay it and the late it. it makes the sense. it is time. it is ready. like my colleague just said, and some building trade members in the audience have said, the trades have been hit in a way where we have never seen it before, unprecedented. we have 30% to 50% unemployment across the board in the building trades for over two years. i cannot tell you how many stories of members -- the membership is dropping out in huge numbers because the cannot afford to stay in the unions. secondly, they have no health and welfare anymore. they are running out of unemployment. they are draining everything out
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of there for 01 if they can get it. i hear the stories every day. this project needs to happen to revitalize the city and to get construction back on track. it is very important for working men and women in this city. i would like to end by saying that i think -- i think this is a well thought out project. over like i said plenty of years, it has gone in front of the board of supervisors, a different board of supervisors. it has been approved. i think the developer has gone out of his way to work with everybody and make sure that everybody is taken care of. they have gone over and above what the minimum qualifications are as far as rent-controlled, affordable housing. they have gone over and above
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every time. they have done everything asked of them, and then some. i ask for your support for this project. it is vitally important to san francisco. we need to get it back on track. we need to get our people working. commissioner richardson: i wanted to take this opportunity to recognize and thank my fellow commissioners on the planning side, and members of tihdi. but in particular i wanted to acknowledge the work of the planning staff, san francisco planning, tihdi, the mayor's office of economic development, and the city staff from the various agencies that make a contribution to this. as a former planning commissioner, i worked on the other side. i have had the opportunity and privilege in all my years in san francisco to sit through
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numerous eir proceedings where the public had a chance to speak. significant projects in san francisco like mission bay, the giants stadium, and a lot of projects that have today transformed san francisco -- all the projects in question had tremendous transportation impact. and the city staff, san francisco staff, are known throughout this country and worldwide, for the work they do. i just want to put that on the record. i also wanted to state that after numerous meetings and meetings and meetings on the community level, by the cic, by tihdi, the special meetings with the telegraph hill organizations, a fine organization -- i think they came here today and spread their
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opposition and concerns. we also heard from other members of telegraph hill. this is democracy in action. i think san francisco is known for its citizens to come up and express their ideas. i am basing my recommendation because of the extensive reading and my participation in this project. i am very qualified to make a statement on the eir. what i have found is a consistency throughout the evaluation and the application of the rules and regulation policies set aside by ceqa. i think the documents meet those criteria. i have also narrowed my interest. i looked at the transportation.
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caltrans, a state organization, has stood in support of this the guy are. they did mention mitigation issues there would like to have. the organization actually states that we should make sure during the implementation on the bay bridge to make sure there are adequate signs so that motorists approaching the ramparts can follow those guidelines. i want to ask the staff. it is this the same types of thing that you find on the bay bridge currently, where motorists are required to stop and on the light proceed? anyone that does not abide by those rules would be in violation of traffic laws. is that right?
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>> that is correct. commissioner richardson: here we are again, to mitigate what we know has already worked in the bay area. so to me that is not an issue. i was very impressed to read a comment of the san francisco bicycle coalition, a membership 12,000 strong. they have come forward to support the eir. to me, that is very significant. that shows that the users in san francisco took the time to read the eir and are in favor. they look forward to development of this precious property in san francisco. i also read the comments of organizations very prestigious and well-respected, like spurts.
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-- like spur. they also took their time. the building owners association is longstanding and well known for its process. they also took the time to look at the eir. to me, it is very significant. i look to the san francisco building trades and the various letters of the san francisco labor union. they have identified different aspects of this document and have come out to be in support. i can also say that to the san francisco chamber of commerce. but most importantly, tihdi, a community organization, a nonprofit. all of the home life catholic
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charities have attended numerous meetings. i was told that official numbers could be from 250 to 500 at the special meetings. we can conclude that the process to this day has been a very great process. it has allowed san francisco residence to be part of the process. in fact, one of the speaker's earlier, my colleague at san francisco tomorrow, mentioned that city staff has gone beyond the call of duty to make the document accessible. that is the respect of the staff and hints at my earlier statement, thanking them for going beyond the call of duty. the other issue i have has to do with this sea wall. at this point, i am going to
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call staff and please ask you to read, because i think this document is very significant for you to read to the record. can you find that document, please? i will give you mine. >> dear president chiu, i understand the board will be certifying the final environmental impact report over the next few weeks. there is a land use committee set for an march 21, 2011. i am writing to convey our overall support for which the issue of sea level rise has been addressed on this project. we are proud to have been recognized as a leader on
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saleable rise policy in the bay area. we actively participated with other document -- with other organizations in drafting and california strategy, and are working on the day plan. the treasure island project has already earned praise from local, state, an international government agencies for its innovative approach to sea level rise in general sustainability measures. governor schwarzenegger recognize the city's approach for its compliance and consistency with california's climate adaptation strategy. our staff has worked closely on the treasure island community development for the past four years on potential sea level rise impact and strategies to address this challenge. the staff ability to understand
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the complexity of this long-term issue has been impressive. the technical and engineering responses have been well thought out and innovative. the commitment to long-term strategies, including funding the strategies, will insure this regional party development area will be well-positioned to protect the community. the implementation of the proposed anticipatory design and adaptive management approach offers the promise of becoming an example of techniques for sea level rise protection for other communities in the bay area and beyond. sincerely, will travis, executive director, the conservation and development. >> on the reduction -- commissioner richardson: on the reduction of the 400 units of housing, this matter was brought about by the uncertainty about governor brown's proposal to eliminate our redevelopment
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agency and is a result of that, to make sure this project is not delayed after 10 years in planning. the city has resulted to infrastructure district plans. to me, that is the only change. i want to ask the staff. the is the reduction of 400 units of housing have any tremendous impact on the infrastructure of this plan, as indicated in the eir document? >> the short answer is no. commissioner richardson: thank you very much. in conclusion, i feel very confident that this is a good document. my recommendation is for approval. thank you. commissioner borden: i would
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like to review a few things. first, we may not all agree with the mitigation measures. this document goes through significant unavoidable impact and the mitigation measures taken. we may not agree on what those are. we may not think they go far enough, but amounted to highlight some areas. there was a reference to a 2006 plan, and the project description in the most recent plan has 8000 housing units. so the project description -- people mentioned there was a discrepancy. but the project description in my document represents the product we are discussing. i do not see consistency there. in terms of the changes mentioned, all of the changes reduce the impact. there are less tall buildings and less parking spaces. that is a reduction in the impact. that is exactly what ceqa is
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trying to achieve. the whole purpose is to mitigate impacts. but i wanted to point out a few things. public resources code section 2109 2.1 -- -- 2109.21 says that significant new information is what determines whether an eir needs to be recirculated. in a supreme court decision related to laurel heights, it says if we are caught buying significant new language, the legislature reaffirms the goal of meaningful public participation in the review process. it is also clear that by doing so the legislation -- was a slider did not intend to create endless revisions. we circulation was created to be an exception rather than the general rule. it is this issue of substantive evidence of significant new
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information. in the case of sector sensible planning versus the board of supervisors, the supreme court explicitly rejected the proposition that any new regulation triggers for circulation. an opposite statutory scheme does not require that a final e a i r -- eir the recirculated. moving on to the issue about the changes to the financial structure of the document -- san franciscans versus the city and county of san francisco, the board of appeals said the public agency that bears the responsibility for making findings as to whether significant economic, legal, social, technological, or other measures -- it talk specifically
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about the financial aspects of the plan and the mitigation. another case, sierra club versus the county of napa, the court upheld the lead agency's reliance on rejecting infeasible findings. i bring this up because the issue of the change in the finance mechanism is a result of the fact that we development has gone away. the intent was to go that route. but the project objectives -- the court upholds the objectives of the overall project, described in this document, it takes precedent in looking at what alternative you choose. it is a valid approach that is being put forth. those are just a few examples. i could go through more cases that are cited related to ceqa.
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but i think the issue we have that most people addressed related to the project and how the product has changed because of financing mechanisms -- that is not a ceqa issue. that is a product issue. it would make sense to spend our time focusing on it there. the document is filled with a lot of significant unavoidable impact. ultimately, as a public agency, we have to decide whether the overall benefits outweigh the significant environmental impacts in this document. vice president miguel: i am happy that so many speakers talked to the legal ramifications of this, because i am not going to. there were a lot of changes from 2006 to 2011. in my mind, there are going to be changes before the project is finished. what i am dealing with right now is an eir.
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is it adequate? is it accurate? is it complete? does it cover any of the changes that have been brought forth? anything that comes to the planning commission of any size, particularly something of this size and this important -- if you take a look at the back of the paper material in front of president olague -- and that is not all of it, by the way, i expect changes up to the last minute. we are going to get them. there is no question about it, whether it be basic changes because of sacramento not being able to make up its cumulative mind, or whether it is because of iraq's sheets -- errata sheets, we are going to get them, and we do. i compliment mr. cooper and the entire staff on what they have
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done. it was an amazing job under very unusual circumstances. this project is not perfect. it is probably never going to be perfect. it is good. it is excellent, as far as i am concerned. if we look for perfect, we will never get out of here this evening or any other. i do not believe that this eir has to be recirculated. i believe it is adequate, it is accurate, and it is complete. commissioner elberling: [inaudible] about the seismic risk of the existing island -- i have been involved in this project from the very beginning. my greatest concern is that it has taken us 15 years to get to
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this point. if there is any emergency, the urgency is the existing seismic hazard of the island, and its exposure to eight -- its exposure to a tsunami in the bay. it is not as scary as the common to presented, but it is a serious matter. the longer we wait -- every year we wait to raise the berm around the island is one more year of that existing hazard to continue for those that are there today. i think if there is any case of urgency for action, that is the case. i know what it has taken 15 years. it is the horrible amount of red tape, multiple agencies, and many issues. but i certainly do not want to wait another five years to address that matter. because it has not been described it, i would like to ask staff the tale of the
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contingency arrangements that were built into the project development agency now -- to go back from the 25% affordable housing if possible. we heard this at our commission meeting last week, but most of the public would be aware. could you do that? >> good evening. i am from the mayor's office of economic and workforce development. we touched on this at both commissions. the 25% was brought upon us by the state through the uncertainty around redevelopment. we have put in the document to ways to get back to the 30% of affordable housing. one is to get changes to the ifp legislation. if we get to a point where the increment equates to what we had
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under redevelopment, which is about 80% of the increment, we revert back and game back the affordable housing that was lost as part of this. we have provided two years in our agreement to be able to get changes to that legislation or make legislative changes, two legislative cycles. the other way is in essence to buy back the area. if we can get funding from general obligation bonds or what not, we can buy back the parcels that we lost through this proposal. we have included those in the transaction documents to allow us to treat the 20 represents signed as a floor and get back close to 30%. >> how do we adjust -- commissioner elberling: how do we adjust the phasing? >> there are currently 24 sides
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outlined in the housing plan. that was reduced to 20 sites as a result of the change. the have put the sites that have to move from a portable to market place to give us time, so they are all in phase 2. [no audio] >> this is not what is up on approval for our commission meeting. so that is simply not on the table.
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nor is eliminating any of the transportation mitigation funding, or any of the other possibilities that were lit up to us last week. we did not pursue any of those trade-offs. in general, also on the eir -- in the testimony tonight and letters i read, i did not see anybody challenge the analysis. this obviously is the big issue for many. i actually did not see anybody who said in writing or in testimony this evening that somehow the impact were wrong, the analysis was wrong. when the standard before us is a question of whether the document is adequate and accurate, that would be the challenge that would give me concern. i heard people disagreeing on
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the merits, but given the identify impacts, that is a different discussion. that is not a vote on certification of the eir. that is a vote on the dda. it is a different topic, not this evening's vote. listening to the public, what really struck me were the many visions that are still in the project, despite the statements by some that the community benefits have been reduced. in fact, what is still there, for any redevelopment project in the city -- this is the most ambitious project we ever have done for parks, open space, and wildlife habitat, including the wetlands on yerba buena. what is in there still is the most ambitious effort at social justice in the homeland -- in the homeless development program